School counselor Katie Bergin opens a book to a page showing a little girl standing on a hill shouting, “No boys allowed!” A group of second graders shake their heads in dismay at the image. The book, “What If Everybody Said That?” is a story by Ellen Javernick that emphasizes both the negative and positive impact of our word choices. The book is a progression from a story these students read in first grade, called “What If Everybody Did That?”
“What is respect?” asks Bergin.
Hands shoot up.
“Respect means treating someone the way you wanted to be treated,” says Carter Iglesias. “That is the golden rule.”
Most students at Primrose Elementary School are familiar with the golden rule, and the importance of it in their school culture. All students learn about respect and kindness during these social-emotional wellness lessons, which are part of the curriculum at Primrose Elementary School. They learn about “bucket filling”- using actions and words to build people up, rather than “bucket dipping” - saying or doing things that are negative or unhelpful.
Bergin is masterful at using the children’s eagerly shared personal experiences as examples for the lesson.
“Are there times at school when being silly is not respectful?” asks Bergin? “Are there times when being silly is ok at school?”
The students learn what it means to be a respectful citizen of different communities, from a global citizen, all the way down to a citizen of their classroom pod. Students are recognized each month for practicing the golden rule and filling others’ buckets.